By Jake Donovan
The very last bout of Monday evening saw Great Britain secure its third guaranteed boxing medal after Anthony Joshua delivered big time in a 15-11 win over Zhilei Zhang.
Even in representing the hosting nation, Joshua faced an uphill climb on paper as he was paired with the defending 2008 Olympic silver medalist. Zhang earned the medal in his own home country and figured to be a good bet to at least secure a second medal if not repeat as a finalist.
All bets were off in this one, however, as Joshua was well up to the task. A clean knockdown courtesy of a telephone pole of a right hand set the tone that Zhang would have to earn his keep in this year's competition. Past achievements have had no bearing on the outcome of any division, as several returning medalists have fallen prey to younger and hungrier fighters.
This fight filled that bill as Joshua parlayed a dominant first round into an equally strong round two. Even more shocking than his handling of Zhang was the fact that he only led by four points heading into the final round. Complaints of hometown favoritism have echoed throughout the competition, but the opposite was true in this fight.
Zhang managed a modest rally in the third and final round, but never came close to convincing the masses that it was enough to erase the earlier deficit. The official announcement over the PA system confirmed what was already believed, that Joshua is now assured at least a bronze.
Joshua will now face Kazakhstan's Ivan Dychko, who made it look easy in a 20-6 rout of Canada's Simon Kean.
Dychko barely broke a sweat in breaking down Kean, who had aspirations of securing Canada its first boxing medal since 1996. That dream was in jeopardy as early as midway through the first round, when Kean was rocked and issued a standing eight-count.
The fight snowballed from there, with Dychko never affording his opponent the chance to believe he could punch his way back into contention. The win for Dychko gives Kazakhstan its second guaranteed boxing medal, as Marina Voldova advanced to the seminfinal in women's middleweight competition earlier Monday afternoon. Four more Kazakh fighters remain in the hunt.
Meanwhile, Kean is the last exiting member from a beleaguered Canada boxing team that remains shut out of the medal stage for the fifth straight Olympic year.
Magomedrasul Majidov of Azerbaijan became the first to advance to the medal round in the super heavyweight division. The feat came about in taking a 17-13 win over Magomed Omarov of Russia.
Conditioning proved to be the biggest factor in this affair. Majidov maintained a steady pace throughout the contest, while Omarov might have punched himself out during a second round flurry. The 19-year old Russian sputtered down the stretch, never a good thing when a fight is very much on the table for both fighters.
Majidov will next face defending Gold medalist Roberto Cammarelle of Italy. The matchup might not be as much of an uphill climb for the Azerbaijani as suggested on paper. Cammarelle looked like a shell of his former self in barely outlasting Mohamed Arjaoui in a 12-11 nailbiter.
Cammarelle looked unsure of himself for most of the fight, which was dected by Arjaoui who jumped on the heavily favored Italian from the opening bell. Arjaoui's aggression had Cammarelle in physical trouble, but also proved to be his own undoing as he issued a two-point penalty for excessive holding.
The foul turned out to produce the margin of victory as Cammarelle secures his second straight medal. However, it will take a massive improvement over the next few days in order to repeat his run in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Arjauoi's loss ends leaves Morocco out of the running for boxing medals in this year's competition. Arjauoui was the only fighter to post a win for the squad; female lightweight Mahjoub Outbil was granted an opening round bye was eliminated in Monday afternoon's semifinal match with Brazil's Adriana Araujo.
Semifinal action for amateur boxing's heaviest weight class takes place on Frid
ay, August 10.
Zhilei Zhang (China)
Anthony Joshua (Great Britain)
Super Heavyweights Quarterfinals (Monday, August 6)
Magomedrasul Majidov (Azerbaijan) def. Magomed Omarov (Russia), 17-13
Roberto Cammarelle (Italy) def.
Mohamed Arjaoui (Morocco), 12-11
Ivan Dychko (Kazakhstan) vs.
Simon Kean (Canada), 20-6
Zhilei Zhang (China) vs. Anthony Joshua (Great Britain), 15-11
Super Heavyweight Semifinals (Medal Round - Friday, August 10):
Magomedrusal Majidov (Azerbaijan) vs. Roberto Cammarelle (Italy)
Ivan Dychko (Kazakhstan) vs. Anthony Joshua (Great Britain)
Super Heavyweights Round of 16 (Wednesday, August 1)
Magomedrasul Majidov (Azerbaijan) def. Meji Mwamba (Congo), RSC-2 (2:09)
Magomed Omarov (Russia) def. Dominic Breazeale (USA), 19-8
Mohamed Arjaoui (Morocco) def. Blaise Yepmou (Cameroon), 15-6
Roberto Cammarelle (Italy) def. Italo Perea (Ecuador), 18-10
Ivan Dychko (Kazakhstan) def. Erik Pfiefer (Germany), 14-4
Simon Kean (Canada) def. Tony Yoka (France), 16-16 (countback)
Zhilei Zhang (China) def. Johan Linde (Australia), RSC-2
Anthony Joshua (Great Britain) def.
Erislandy Savon (Cuba)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:
Tags: Amateur Boxing